Jack Beckman had the third-quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history Friday in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Beckman, who also owns the top two quickest runs in the class, powered his Dodge Charger to a track-record 3.946 seconds at 324.75 miles per hour in qualifying.
"Unloading with a good run absolutely puts us in a wonderful position," Beckman said. "We were really trying to run a 3.93. There were several areas on the 3.94 where it wasn't as good as we were hoping it would be, and that's a good feeling when you miss it by a little bit and the car still runs that good.
"It's my best speed by a bunch, and we took over the points lead with that one. After leaving Pomona in 18th, being in first for now is a wonderful position."
Shawn Langdon led the Top Fuel field, Shane Gray topped the Pro Stock class, and Andrew Hines took the Pro Stock Motorcycle lead. Langdon had a 3.749 at 321.35, Gray ran a 6.607 at 208.88 in Chevrolet Camaro, and Hines had a 6.937 at 190.54 on a Harley-Davidson.
Hamlin takes pole
Denny Hamlin set a track record in leading a Toyota sweep of the first two rows in qualifying at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Hamlin turned a lap Friday at 131.407 mph to break the mark of 131.362 mph set last August by Kevin Harvick.
It was Hamlin's 22nd career Sprint Cup pole and continued a recent dominant trend by Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR drivers have won five of the past six Sprint Cup Series poles, and Hamlin also won the pole for Friday night's Xfinity Series race.
• Chris Buescher ran out of gas on the restart of a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish of Friday night's Xfinity race, enabling Kyle Busch to sail past the leader on the restart for his eighth series victory at Bristol. The win was the 73rd series victory for Busch, who holds the record for most wins in NASCAR's second tier series.
• If Clint Bowyer knows what team he is driving for next year, he wasn't saying Friday. Bowyer secured his release this week after his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, announced it will cease operations at the end of the season.
• Speedway Motorsports Inc. executive chairman Bruton Smith, 88, revealed he was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June.